Christmas may have passed on the calendar, but the “holidays” continue. In fact, one of the biggest holidays in Canada is the day after Christmas, what we have dubbed, “Boxing Day”. This is akin to “Black Friday” in the USA, a time of year when you can procure the best bargains of the year.
Because Boxing Day has become a public holiday, the stores are usually closed; but this matters little. This has simply sparked what stores now advertise as their “boxing week” sales, and these sales officially begin today in Canada.
I suspect that in this far-from-normal year, the stores, if even open, will not be packed as they usually are. I’m pretty sure, however, that it will be extremely difficult to make purchases online this year due to all the avid “Boxing Week” shoppers simply moving their shopping online!
What do these less-than-peaceful scenes have to do with Christmas Peace – the theme of this month?
Through this series, we have all be striving to accept and hold on to that precious gift, Jesus’ Peace, and I pray we have succeeded, at least to some degree, in actually celebrating Jesus over the past few days, and not Santa. But now we find ourselves on the other side of this holiday that is supposed to bring us such peace, and the hustle of this retailer holiday is anything but the peace that we strive for!
You see, in a world that craves peace, there is precious little we do to actually attain it! We plead for peace in the world out of one side of our mouths, while the other side loudly proclaims that we must push for our own advantage no matter what the cost! And while “Boxing Week” is a Canadian invention, there are few cultures immune to the materialistic self-advancement that fuels it!
How can we combat the rush and hustle of Boxing Week? How do we combat materialism and self-advancement?
One powerful way is to read and meditate on Psalms 136.
This is an interesting Psalm. Each of its 26 verses is two lines long, and each one presents a different reason why we should “Give thanks to the Lord…”. I encourage you to read the chapter in its entirety here. For the purposes of this devotional, however, let’s take a look at a summary of the reasons given for giving God the glory:
- “…for he is good!” (Vs. 1)
- He is the, “God of gods” (Vs. 2)
- He is the, “Lord of lords” (Vs. 3)
- He, “…does mighty miracles.” (Vs. 4)
- He, “…made the heavens so skillfully.” (Vs. 5)
- He, “…placed the earth among the waters.” (Vs. 6)
- He, “…made the heavenly lights…the sun…and the moon and stars…” (Vs. 7,8.9), and given them permission to: “…rule the day…” (Vs. 8) and “…rule the night.” (Vs. 9)
- He takes care of our enemies: “…who killed the firstborn of Egypt.” (Vs. 10)
- He delivers us from our enemies: “…brought Israel out of Egypt.” (Vs. 11)
- His deliverances is with a, “strong and powerful arm.” Vs. 12)
- He divides our problems and while He doesn’t always make them go away, He leads us throughthem safely, conquering our enemies as He goes: “…parted the Red Sea…led Israel safely through…” (Vs. 13-14); He, “led His people through the wilderness” (Vs. 16), and He, “Struck down mighty kings…powerful kings…” (Vs. 16-20)
- He then throws our problems into the sea: “He hurled Pharaoh and his army into the Red Sea.” (Vs. 15)
- He then gives us the territory of our enemies: “God gave the land of these kings as an inheritance…a special possession…” (Vs. 21-22)
- He understands “…our weakness.” (Vs. 23) and “…saved us from our enemies.” (Vs. 24)
- He, “…gives food to every living thing.” (Vs. 25).
That’s quite a list of things to give thanks to God for! But these aren’t all. They are only the first thoughts in each verse. Interestingly, the second thought in every one of these 26 verses is always the same: “His faithful love endures forever” (NLT)! When God repeats Himself, He is truly trying to get our attention, and here in this Psalm, He repeats Himself… 26 times!
In summary, Psalms 136 provides us with the recipe for overcoming the materialistic self-promotion that surrounds us in this world. Thinking about these truths helps us to maintain our Jesus’ Peace. While we are busy meditating on His goodness, while we are filling our minds with contemplation on how He cares for us, how He saves us from our enemies, how He is our provision, no matter what, there is no room for anything else, and His peace prevails! Although we have been discussing Boxing Week and its busyness, I would take this a step farther. It doesn’t matter what the source of our turmoil is, the recipe for Jesus’ peace is the same: Meditate on His goodness! Contemplate His faithful love that endures forever! Counter each fear, each negative thought, with the Truth of God’s Word: “His faithful love endures forever”!
Hey. Maybe this would make a good New Years’ resolution… What do you think?
In His love,
Lynona Gordon Chaffart, Speech-Language Pathologist, mother of two adult boys, Author — “Aboard God’s Train — A Journey With God Through the Valley of Cancer”, Author and Moderator for The Nugget, a tri-weekly internet newsletter, Scriptural Nuggets, a website devoted to Christian devotionals and inspirational poems, The Illustrator, a four-times-a-week internet newsletter, and the Sermon Illustrator website, all with Answers2Prayer Ministries.